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Lieutenant Governor's Office Urges Residents to Get Passports

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Jan. 16, 2008 — With the list of destinations where travelers need passports on the increase, Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis is urging residents to get them now.
"We're encouraging people to get them sooner rather than later," said Celeste Lawrence, spokeswoman at the Lieutenant Governor's Office.
That's because more confusion is about to unfold. Last year U.S. citizens experienced aggravation as they tried to figure out the whole new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative implemented in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
When the dust settled, it turned out U.S. citizens did not need a passport to fly to and from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico from the U.S. mainland.
Now that that matter has been laid to rest, the federal government is about to unleash another set of confusing regulations that call for proper identification by Jan. 31 for land and sea travel. By June 2009, however, you'll need a passport for your road trip through Canada, Mexico and the U.S. mainland, since you won't be able to get across the border without it. Meanwhile, you'll need proper identification for that trip.
The wrinkle comes with what's proper identification.
Throughly confused? Take Francis' advice and just get a passport.
According to various published reports, the U.S. State Department expects another set of passport-issuing delays similar to the one that happened last year when the passport rule first started. Not only were new passport applicants caught up in the mess, but people who needed to renew their passports during that time frame spent many weeks waiting.
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